Billionaires, business moguls, and university alumni are withdrawing their support from two Ivy League universities after school administrators and students failed to strongly condemn the Hamas terrorist attacks against Israel.
Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) were heavily criticized for their response to Hamas’ surprise terrorist attacks Oct. 7 that killed over 1,400 Israelis, after which students and faculty blamed Israel for the conflict.
Several high-profile donors from across the country pulled their funding from schools and blacklisted students from jobs in protest of the universities’ stands on the conflict.
Jon Huntsman Jr., former U.S. ambassador to China and governor of Utah, said in a letter that the Huntsman Foundation no longer would donate to UPenn after its “silence in the face of reprehensible and historic Hamas evil against the people of Israel.” Huntsman, a Republican, called the situation “a new low” for the university.
Over three decades, the Huntsman Foundation had donated roughly $50 million to UPenn, where Huntsman is an alumnus. The family’s name is on the main building of the Wharton School of Business.
David Magerman, a self-described “Torah-observant Jew” who helped launch the trading hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, said Oct. 17 that he would revoke funding after UPenn President Liz Magill didn’t immediately label Hamas as a terrorist organization in an Oct. 10 statement.
Magerman said he was “deeply embarrassed” by his association with UPenn and called out the university for hosting the Palestinian Writes literature festival, which featured speakers who openly glorified or associated with terrorists, only weeks before.
“I am deeply ashamed of my association with the University of Pennsylvania. I refuse to donate another dollar to Penn,” Magerman wrote. “There is no action anyone at Penn can take to change that. I’m not asking for any actions. You have shown me who you are.”
Magill issued another statement Oct. 15 condemning “Hamas’s terrorist assault on Israel.”
Jonathon Jacobson, a UPenn alum and founding member of the venture capital firm HighSage Ventures, wrote an Oct. 16 letter to Magill informing her that he would donate only $1 a year instead of his typical “multi-seven figure” donations unless the UPenn president resigns.
Jacobson also criticized Magill’s “inept handling” of the Palestinian literature festival and accused her of “hiding behind free speech … as an excuse for your fecklessness.”
Other UPenn donors who withdrew funding include Daniel Lowy, a UPenn alum and founder of EMU Health; Clifford Asness of AQR Capital; and Marc Rowan, CEO of Apollo Global Management and chairman of the board of advisers at Wharton, according to the New York Sun.
After over 30 student groups at Harvard refused to condemn Hamas as a terrorist organization and blamed Israel for the attacks, The Wexner Foundation, founded by billionaire Leslie Wexner to develop Jewish leaders, announced in an Oct. 16 letter that it no longer would fund Harvard and would not be involved in any of its programs.
“In the absence of this clear moral stand, we have determined that the Harvard Kennedy School and The Wexner Foundation are no longer compatible partners,” the organization’s letter reads. “Our core values and those of Harvard no longer align. HKS is no longer a place where Israeli leaders can go to develop the necessary skills to address the very real political and societal challenges they face.”
Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Monday that he no longer would participate in fellowships with Harvard’s Kennedy School and the Chan School of Public Health. In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Hogan said the university should have called out the students’ statements on Israel.
“I cannot condone the dangerous antisemitism that has taken root on your campus, especially by more than 30 Harvard student organizations attempting to justify and celebrate Hamas’ terrorism against innocent Israeli and American citizens,” Hogan wrote.
Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer and his wife resigned from the executive board of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government on Oct. 12, saying they no longer could support “Harvard and its committees” in good faith.
Ken Griffin, a Harvard alum and founder of Billionaire Citadel, and Bill Ackerman, billionaire and CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management, vowed earlier this month that their companies would not hire student leaders at Harvard who signed on to letters blaming Israel for Hamas’ terrorist attacks, according to the New York Post.
Jonathan Neman, CEO of Sweetgreen, said he would “like to know” who signed the letters so that he could make sure “never to hire these people,” according to a statement on X, formerly Twitter.
Harvard and UPenn didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Originally published by the Daily Caller News Foundation
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